Singapore-based artist Jane Lee is best known for her inventive techniques and innovative use of materials. She explores the very nature of the way paintings are constructed by treating the components of a painting—stretcher, canvas, and the paint itself—in new ways.
The surfaces of her paintings are highly tactile and sensuous, often dimensional enough to be considered wall-based sculptures. In some cases, Lee dispenses with canvas altogether extruding acrylic paint directly onto wooden stretchers, which results in a hollow, three-dimensional object, with the paint at the bottom seemingly giving in to gravity. Many of her works appear to move: they fall, unroll, hang or slide suggesting, in the process, everyday objects (a hose, a carpet, a window).
Operating in a post-colonial Southeast Asian context, Lee re-examines the significance of Western painting practices while asserting her own culture. Pushing the boundaries of the medium, her work echoes the breakdown of cultural barriers in the era of globalization and affirms the universality of contemporary art.
Lee first came to critical attention in 2008, when her monumental installation Raw Canvas was featured in the Singapore Biennale curated by Fumio Nanjo. The installation was shown again in 2009 at the Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, as part of the Code Share: 5 Continents, 10 Biennales, 20 Artists exhibition curated by Simon Rees. Since then, Lee’s work has been showcased in Collectors’ Stage at the Singapore Art Museum in 2011 and in the Southeast Asia Platform, a curated exhibition of cutting-edge work organized by region, at Art Stage Singapore in 2014. Lee was a highlight of the yearlong exhibition Medium At Large (2014–2015), at the Singapore Art Museum, where her large-scale wall-mounted installation Status was acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. In 2015, Lee’s work was selected for Prudential Singapore Eye, one of the largest surveys of Singapore’s contemporary art to date, held at the ArtScience Museum and in the same year, she participated in Frontiers Reimagined, an exhibition of global art and an official Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale.
Jane Lee has won numerous awards, including a Celeste Prize for painting in 2011. She was a finalist for the 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize and was the first recipient of the Singapore Art Exhibition International Residency Prize in 2007. Lee has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a diploma in fashion from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries in Asia and Europe, among them the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Born in Singapore, 1963 | Lives and works in Singapore